Ek glo in Christus vir die haweloses, vir die verliefdes, vir die rokers, vir die tronkvoëls, vir die getatoeëerdes, vir die junkies, vir die kinder soldate, vir die wat anders as ek glo, vir die besigheidsmanne, en vir die enkel ouers, ek glo in Christus vir almal.
Here God, U wat ons ware Ouer is, ons Vader en ons Moeder, ons bid:
Vir hulle wat vanjaar geboorte geskenk het aan hul eerste kind – ons vier dit saam met hulle.
Vir hulle wat vanjaar ‘n kind verloor het – ons rou saam met hulle.
Vir hulle wat in die loopgrawe met klein kindertjies is, met vlekke op hul klere en sakkies onder hul oë – ons waardeer hulle.
Vir hulle wat verliese beleef het deur miskrame, mislukte aannemings of kinders wat weggeloop het – ons treur saam met hulle.
Vir hulle wat die moeilike pad loop van infertiliteit, deur al die toetse, prosedures, moeilike besluite, hoop en teleurstelling – ons loop saam met hulle. Vergewe ons as ons dwase opmerkings maak wat hulle pad nog moeiliker maak as wat dit reeds is.
Vir hulle wat pleegouers, mentor-ouers, ouma’s op kinderdiens is, ons het hulle broodnodig.
Vir hulle wat hul kinders omvou met liefde en sorg – ons sê dankie vir hulle.
Vir hulle wat teleurstelling, hartseer en verwerping van hul kinders beleef – ons dra hulle aan U op.
Vir hulle wat vanjaar hulle moeder verloor het – ons rou saam met hulle.
Vir hulle wat mishandel is deur hul moeder – ons bid vir herstel en genesing.
Vir hulle wat reeds deur al die toetse van ouerskap is en wie se kinders nou uit die huis is – ons is dankbaar vir hulle en slaan ons arms om hulle.
Vir hulle wat deur die trauma van ‘n aborsie is – ons bid dat U hulle weer sal heel maak.
Vir hulle wat enkel is en graag ‘n ouer sou wou wees – mag daar onverwagse vreugdes in hulle lewe na vore kom.
Vir hulle wat stiefouers is – help hulle om daardie komplekse verhoudings na die beste van hul vermoë te hanteer.
Vir hulle wie se droom van kleinkinders nooit bewaarheid is nie, of wie se kleinkinders oorsee bly – sal U hulle troos.
Vir hulle wat hul kinders laat plaas vir aanneming – ons eer hulle selfloosheid en onthou dat hulle daardie kind in hulle hart vashou.
En vir hulle wat swanger is met nuwe lewe – ons staan in afwagting saam met hulle.
Hierdie Moedersdag bid ons vir hulle almal. Ons onthou hulle almal en ons eer hulle. Ons deel in hulle vreugdes en hulle pyn.
Here God, U wat ons ware Ouer is, ons Vader en ons Moeder, wees by ons almal.
Don’t assume your church doesn’t have anything to offer the Millennial generation, says Andrew Ponder Williams. He outlines five ways that mainline churches are distinctively called and gifted to connect with younger generations and offers tips on how your church can maximize these advantages.
I consistently encounter the presumption in congregations of all sizes that Millennials don’t like mainline churches. I believe this assumption arises from a deep fear that our local churches don’t have anything to offer my generation. The truth is that Millennials desire and actively seek intergenerational, welcoming communities of faith. I know from firsthand experience with ministries across mainline traditions that our congregations have a lot to offer younger people.
Here are five reasons why mainline churches are distinctively called to minister with Millennials and tips for how your church can better connect with this generation.
1. We share our faith authentically.
Our consumer culture has hijacked the word authentic to describe guacamole, toilet bowel cleaners, and everything in between. The term has lost a lot of its impact and we have become immune to its true meaning.
True authenticity is something that forms within us when we are centered with God and with our neighbors. Authenticity requires vulnerability with God and with each other.
TIP: Millennials are a generation seeking authenticity. In other words, local churches should not pretend to be something that they aren’t. For example, if your church is small then don’t pretend to be big. Authentically embracing who you are as a community of faith will draw others to you.
2. We are rooted in traditions.
Please disregard everything you have been told about how your traditional church has nothing to offer young people. God has equipped you to minister to Millennials through the traditions you share and the relationships you offer. In a world that changes every five minutes, my generation understands that for something to last hundreds of years it must be pretty special.
Furthermore, traditional has gone from meaning “old” to meaning “mystical.” We Millennials grew up on stories of a young wizard named Harry Potter who escaped a locked closet under the stairs, came of age in a giant gothic castle, and was shaped by much older professors and mentors. The Harry Potter Effect, as I call it, has shaped our minds to see gothic spaces as places of great intrigue and even opportunity. It explains, in part, why Millennials are more open to traditional expressions of faith than you might think.
TIP: Embrace and showcase your traditions through creative and meaningful worship. Invoke a sense of the sacred in worship through candles, hymns, and don’t try to overly modernize your worship space.
3. We give generously.
The clearest conclusion about the Millennial generation is that we are generous in our giving to and support of impactful nonprofits. Mainline faith traditions are well positioned to engage Millennials because of our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of all God’s children through missions and service. The most generous generation in history is the perfect match for the most generous churches in the world.
TIP: This is one area of ministry where it is okay to not be humble. Be bold in sharing your commitment to missions and the impact on the lives of others. Invite young people in your congregation to lead your church in its mission and service.
4. We live purposefully.
I learned from an experience with a former campus ministry student that the thoughtful theology of the mainline gives young people the opportunity to develop a distinct purpose for their lives. Our group had spent the day exploring Yosemite National Park only to discover it was too crowded to see much of anything. We took a back road away from the crowd and discovered an incredible mountain vista where we prayed.
This student shared that her day at Yosemite was like her experience with our mainline campus ministry. Her point was that most people travel just to the most famous spot within a park or destination, take a selfie, and miss the richness of what lies off the beaten path. She believed that most students at her school were joining campus ministries that narrowed their perspectives instead of helping them discover their distinct purposes.
TIP: Make mentorship a core function of your ministry whether your church has one young adult to guide or hundreds. Mentorship leads to meaningful relationships and spiritual growth for the mentor and the mentee.
5. We are based in grace.
Our theological emphasis on grace has always been especially inspiring and is more important than ever in this time of division. The grace God has for us and the grace we have for each other is something we are called to share widely. Mainline traditions emphasis grace in distinct and transformative ways. Our belief in God’s commitment to perpetual love and forgiveness for us all is something truly distinct and comforting.
TIP: Practice a life of grace inside and outside the walls of your church. Seize this opportunity to model grace for our divided society and for my generation. Embracing grace will distinguish your church as a nurturing intergenerational community of faith.
Over the last few weeks I have been rereading this book by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson.
Wesley Granberg-Michaelson is general secretary emeritus of the Reformed Church in America, was keynote speaker at World Communion of Reformed Churches in 2017 General Council and WCRC representative to the Global Christian Forum.
In Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century author Wesley Granberg-Michaelson provides a lucid view of how the top ten winds of change blowing through global Christian faith are reshaping the practice of Christianity today. He is uniquely qualified to identify and interpret connection points between global Christian trends and the American church.
Drawing on the stories, examples, and personalities of pastors and congregations from throughout the United States, as well as those from Africa, Asia, Latin America, who are the faces of Christianity’s future, Future Faith is designed to inform and empower followers of Jesus to seek new ways of becoming the face of Christ to a rapidly changing world.
Leaders and practitioners in church growth, renewal, and planting will be a primary audience for this book. Students of religion from Catholic, evangelical, Pentecostal, and historic Protestant streams will find this book an informative and stimulating resource for pondering together the future of their faith. Small groups engaged in congregational nurture and growth will find in the author a welcome companion for guiding them through the multicultural landscape of contemporary faith.